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Expanded safety remit will allow for safer structures, says CROSS 

31 March 2021

The implementation of a Hackitt Review recommendation is another step towards safer structures, with CROSS expanding its remit to cover fire safety from today. 

Expanded safety remit will allow for safer structures, says CROSS 

Built environment professionals and others have been empowered to help make structures safer, with the expansion and refresh of a collaborative and confidential safety reporting system.

Collaborative Reporting for Safer Structures (CROSS), which is operated jointly by the Institutions of Civil and Structural Engineers, has expanded its remit to include reporting on fire and structural safety from today.

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, Dame Judith Hackitt undertook an Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. The final report recommended that CROSS “should be extended and strengthened to cover all engineering safety concerns”.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Dame Judith Hackitt said:

“This is a really important step in changing the culture around buildings and structures to one of openness and transparency. Other industry sectors like airlines have shown how valuable this type of no-blame reporting of concerns can be in identifying potential causes of failure before they happen and ensuring that they are shared with the whole sector.”

The confidential safety reporting system for buildings and other structures allows professionals and others to share their concerns about, and experiences of, fire and structural safety to help others make structures safer. CROSS publishes safety information, supporting continuous learning at all levels across the built environment, including individuals, organisations and regulators.

Julie Bregulla ICE Fellow, and chair of ICE’s Structures Panel, said:

“Recording, analysing and learning from failures and near misses forms an important part of the continuous learning cycle. It underpins an engineer's competency and is key to a learning industry. The expansion of CROSS into fire safety – and in near future to infrastructure safety – will be key in ensuring assets stand the test of time. We have a responsibility to society to build, operate and maintain structures and assets that are fit for purpose, reliable and feel safe.

“All industry professionals should make engaging with CROSS a regular and dedicated activity – to both continuously improve themselves and to reassure stakeholders, and the public, of their commitment to safety.”

The expansion of CROSS functions was supported by funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) as part of its aim to deliver the recommendations made in the Independent Review.

Building safety minister, Lord Greenhalgh said:

“The expansion and strengthening of CROSS is a major step towards implementation of the new building safety regime, providing those in industry with the tools and information needed to effectively share valuable lessons learned and promote best practices.

“Complementing other reporting systems, the relaunch of CROSS will play a key role in fostering a more open culture towards reporting and safety across all buildings.”

CROSS structural safety expert, Alastair Soane said that the initiative will encourage change within the industry.

“Ensuring structures are safe is a fundamental need, and expanding CROSS into fire safety will provide more comprehensive monitoring and learning from across the sector," he said.

“We want to promote a culture of change within industry – one that supports and encourages individuals to come together and share responsibility for creating a safer built environment.”

  • Emma Beer, media relations manager at ICE